OPCW's head urges Israel to join Chemical arms pact

OPCW's head urges Israel to join Chemical arms pact
Wed Dec 11, 2013 00:21:21

The head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has again called on the Israeli regime to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

OPCW’s Secretary General Ahmed Uzumcu made the remarks on Tuesday after receivingthe  Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the organization in Oslo.

The OPCW was founded in 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction.

The Israeli regime is widely believed to have chemical weapons as well as being the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East with up to 400 undeclared nuclear warheads.

Tel Aviv has rejected global calls to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and does not allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect its controversial nuclear program.

Meanwhile, the organization confirmed on Friday that Syria has destroyed all of its unfilled chemical munitions in line with a program to eradicate its most toxic chemicals.

OPCW said in a statement that its experts have also verified the destruction of parts of buildings at weapons production facilities near the Syrian city of Homs.

Last month, the international chemical weapons watchdog, which is overseeing the efforts in cooperation with the United Nations, confirmed the destruction of 63 percent of Syria's unfilled chemicals.

The special coordinator for the UN-OPCW mission in Syria said last week that the functional destruction of “critical facilities and weaponry has taken place…. We’re in full swing to prepare for the removal of the most critical chemical agents out of the country.”

Sigrid Kaag added that there are “deadlines that are set that are quite ambitious. They’re very stringent, but we are getting as ready as we possibly can so the Syrian Arab Republic - the government - can fulfill its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

Kaag said the mission would pack, seal and transport the chemical agents to Syria’s Mediterranean port of Latakia. From there, the material is to be transported to a US vessel for final destruction. The package, according to Kaag, would not be destroyed in Syria’s territorial waters.

Kaag has praised the Syrian government’s cooperation with the OPCW, calling it constructive.

Moreover, Denmark and Norway have offered to transport the weapons out of Syria for destruction.

The removal is a part of a deal struck by Russia and the United States in September, under which the US backed off from a military strike on Syria in return for the Arab country eliminating its chemical weapons.

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